Fired two years ago, former principal gets job back...with backp - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Fired two years ago, former principal gets job back...with backpay

by Krystal Paco

Guam - A former Department of Education principal who was demoted then dismissed from his job two years ago gets not only his job back, but backpay, too.

For former Untalan Middle School principal Eleuterio Mesa, there's plenty of reason to celebrate.

Following his termination from the Department of Education back in 2011, Mesa appealed the adverse action with the civil service commission and just recently, came out victorious.

"After 527 days, I think the truth came out. Justice came out" he said.

As we previously reported, it was back in 2011 Doris Guerrero came to KUAM complaining that her daughter was denied access to education when Mesa failed to provide her with a one-to-one aide as part of her individualized education program.

But this was only the beginning as Mesa would have to fight to keep his job as an education response team was deployed to check the climate of his school as his professionalism and ability to administer routine daily operations on campus were now in question.

"They had to send up a team of investigators to the school about dirty classrooms, using my assistant principal as a tool to get additional information - looking for dirt basically - eavesdropping on my conference with one of the students after school, and issues like I'm not working well with my assistant principals," he said.

After hearing witness testimony and considering arguments submitted by both parties, the CSC failed to garner four votes required to sustain the adverse action resulting in the action against Mesa to be revoked.

Although he's not entitled to double-pay, Mesa will return to the position of principal at Untalan Middle School with restored backpay and benefits from the date of his termination.

In addition, he will receive close to $50,000 for attorney's fees.

He said, "Somebody who has worked in the system for so many years, learned a lot, and to be treated like this on the later part of his retirement years and I believe a lot of these issues could've been resolved. And yes, I believe there's something personal about this and that there's no place for that in a professional setting like DOE."

After 30-plus years in the education system, he's ready to return to the Home of the Wildcats and continue with his efforts to improve student learning through professional learning community.

"I'm anxious to go back and continue where I left off."

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